EMBRACING CHANGE AND FACING THE FUTURE WITH CONFIDENCE
Remarks delivered by the Honourable Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Dr. Akintola, Benson Oke, FCArb on Wednesday, 7th June, 2017 at the 12th Retirement Benefits Documentation Seminar organised by the Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC) for employees who are due to retire from the Lagos State Public Service between (July, 2017 and December, 2017)
Head of Service
Chairman, House Committee on Establishments, Training, Pensions and Public Service
Representatives of the Pension Fund Administrators and Insurance Companies
Gentlemen of the Press
Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen
1. There are only few events and occurrences that scare the human mind more than change. To an extent, this is understandable. This is because the human mind cherishes certainty and longs to stick with familiar paths. But then, change is constant and inevitable. Human history and experience teach us that those who strive are those who embrace change and adapt to its demands on them. Indeed, Charles Darwin profoundly observed that, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
2. As our prospective retirees face a new future, I bring a message of encouragement. So, first of all, let me assert, like Franklin D. Roosevelt, my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. We have to be afraid of nameless, unreasoning, unjustified fears about the future. I encourage you to eschew fear and anxiety and instead to embrace faith and hope as you go into a new stage in your lives.
3. While the change may bring daunting challenges, you really have nothing to be anxious about. In the first place, you have the advantage of having served an organisation that has made adequate arrangements for your future in retirement. In the last 22 months alone, the Lagos State Government has paid accrued pension rights of approximately N28 billion into the Retirement Savings Account of 6,509 retirees.
4. Furthermore, the Lagos State Government has continued to remit money into the officers’ Retirement Savings Accounts. I am pleased to inform you at this juncture that the government has paid the approximate sum of N62 billion into the Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA) of about 13,000 retirees since the commencement of the payment of entitlements in the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) dispensation. Indeed, we are proud to note that Lagos State remains the only state in the federation that is up to date in its monthly remittances into serving employees’ Retirement Savings Accounts.
5. The Retirement Benefit Documentation Seminar comes up bi-annually and this being the 12th in the series shows that it is a tradition which has come to stay and its importance cannot be underestimated. This seminar is put together for the core civil servants and other employees in the State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB), Teachers’ Establishment & Pensions Office (TEPO), Government Parastatals and Local Government Staff, who will be retiring from the State’s Public Service between July and December, 2017.
6. It is a programme designed to educate you on the documentation required to enable you have quick access to your terminal entitlements. Secondly, it is to expose you to the fears and challenges faced by retirees and measures to take to ensure your peace of mind as you transit into another phase of your life.
7. Many employers of labour and indeed, many State Governments do not see the need to prepare their employees for a new life. This administration, however, is a people-oriented one and we have resolved that everyone who has worked diligently for the state has to be recognised, paid his/her dues and assisted to prepare for future challenges.
8. Therefore, with the benefit of the knowledge of a responsive and responsible employer in the Lagos State Government, I urge you to embrace the coming change with confidence. Without doubt, there are other challenges inherent in facing a period of retirement. Let me advise you not to be apprehensive about these. Change is built into the fabric of our lives. This is why Kakuzo Okakaura rightly observed that “the art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings” and the great Mahatma Gandhi said, “Adaptability is not imitation. It means power of resistance and assimilation.”
9. Indeed, there are plethora of examples of people who have engaged in markedly profitable engagements after retiring from active employment. I urge you to resolve to envision such a productive future in your retirement years. In order to do that, there are a number of wise counsel that have been urged on retiring personnel. With the R-E-T-I-R-E W-E-L-L acronym, you can keep in mind the important mindset actions that will serve you well in your new future.
a. R- Remember to be thankful and grateful. Always recall God’s blessings and goodness to you. Also, be thankful for the love of friends and family members.
b. E- Envision a productive future. Everything starts with a vision. Do not give up on yourself. Envision a future where you can do things, no matter how little, for the benefit of the society and others.
c. T- Try new things. It is not all over for you. You can still learn new skills, read new books, meet new friends, start new ventures.
d. I – Inspire others. With the wealth of experience that you have acquired over the years, you should make it your duty to inspire the younger generation. Encourage and guide them with the benefit of your acquired wisdom and experience.
e. R – Remember to make amends. It is never too late to say sorry or to correct a wrong. As you have more time on your hands, you should reflect on the mistakes you have made and make the genuine efforts to correct them.
f. E – Embrace hope. Be hopeful. Hope will gladden your heart and make your life more meaningful.
g. W – Wait for things to turn out well. Be patient in hope even as you make efforts to do new things.
h. E – Exercise. Discover light and non-strenuous exercises that you can regularly engage in. This will keep you in good health.
i. L – Love others. Look out for opportunities to show love to others and, I particular, to the less priviledged.
j. L – Look up. Look up to your maker and your God. He can make all things beautiful.
10. On behalf of His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, I sincerely appreciate your service, dedication and commitment to the advancement of Lagos State and I wish you a rewarding time at this seminar and many blissful years in retirement.
11. Thank you for your attention and God bless.
Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko, Lo je wa logun
Dr. Akintola, Benson Oke, FCArb
Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions (MET&P)